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Less than an hour from Rome by bus, the hilltop town of Tivoli has a fresh, airy ambiance that feels worlds apart from the capital. It has always been a retreat from the heat of the city; in classical days Tivoli was a retirement town for wealthy Romans and later, during the Renaissance, it attracted some of the city’s most well-to-do families who, like their predecessors, built beautiful villas and showed off their achievements here. It’s still a prosperous place, partly due to the business generated by the travertine quarries just outside town, which provide much of the stone for the public buildings of Rome and beyond. But the real ...

Less than an hour from Rome by bus, the hilltop town of Tivoli has a fresh, airy ambiance that feels worlds apart from the capital. It has always been a retreat from the heat of the city; in classical days Tivoli was a retirement town for wealthy Romans and later, during the Renaissance, it attracted some of the city’s most well-to-do families who, like their predecessors, built beautiful villas and showed off their achievements here. It’s still a prosperous place, partly due to the business generated by the travertine quarries just outside town, which provide much of the stone for the public buildings of Rome and beyond. But the real reason for coming is to see some of the relics from Tivoli’s past glory days – specifically two marvelous and playful Renaissance villa complexes and parks, and the fabled country retreat of the emperor Hadrian, down the hill below the town, which is as captivating and intact a Roman sight as you’ll find anywhere in Italy.

Martin Dunford
About the Expert

Martin Dunford is the author or coauthor of eight Rough Guides: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium & Luxembourg, Italy, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, and New York City.

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Martin Dunford for Triporati

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